Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
17 September 2012

“Man of the match“, “keep calm and carry on“, and other phrases you might get sued for using

Odd trademarks.

By New Statesman

OFS Group is selling the rights to the phrase “Man of the Match”. The trademark could fetch millions, as the owner will be able to sue companies who are using the phrase without their consent. It seems odd that such a well known phrase can be bought and sold, but it’s not an isolated case. Here are some other surprising trademarks:

“Keep Calm and Carry On”

The wartime slogan wasn’t trademarked until 2007, where it was registered by Surrey businessman Mark Coop in a landmark case of entrepeneurial spirit overcoming Blitz spirit. On his first attempt, in Britain, he was laughed out of the courtroom, but he managed to get it overruled by the European Union. He immediately started serving notices on other companies to get their versions of the poster withdrawn.

“Let’s Get Ready to Rumble”

This “very ’80s” phrase was taken by Michael Buffer, the boxing and wrestling announcer. He licenced it to New York City taxi cabs in the late 1990s, where it was used, in his own voice, as a reminder for passengers to buckle their seatbets: “Let’s get ready to rumble…. for SAFETY!” He also adapted it for a Kraft cheese commercial (“Lets get ready to crumble!”), although he has yet to take ownership of the adaptations fumble, bumble and stumble. By 2009 the phrase made him over £246m.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

“That’s hot”

Paris Hilton has had rights to the phrase  since 2007 – a bumper year for the franchising of ubiquitous phrases. She put the flexible phrase to use promoting a canned version of a sparkling wine called Rich Prosecco.